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Restaurant Happenings  April 2003

ZAX - A Great Pizza Joint and Much, Much More!
by Annabelle Numaguchi

Does eating oven-fired pizza and downing cold beer outdoors appeal to you? Then, Zax is your place. Does shooting some pool while sipping a cocktail sound good? Then, Zax is your place. Does feeding a family of five at an affordable price tempt you? Then, Zax is your place. Does doing your laundry while dining and drinking instead of reading the paper in a dimly lit hall make you smile? Then, guess who offers that too.

Zax Wood Fired Pizza and Watering Hole celebrated its first anniversary on March 23. The restaurant/bar/laundromat has earned its welcome into the Moab community.

Maybe because two of the owners, Mike Bynum and Bart Bortles, are original Moabites, they instinctively knew what niches to fill. Although Zax is most notably associated with its brick oven pizza, the place also offers an upscale bar where couples sipping a Bordeaux can feel as welcome as pool players sipping a Bud.

The most recent addition to the establishment is a conveniently attached, brightly-lit laundry room, complete with over twenty washers and dryers, including jumbo-sized machines. So now visitors to Zax can enjoy clean clothes and a full stomach all in one spin.

The extensive menu features an assortment of sandwiches, burgers, calzones, pasta dishes, and, of course, pizza. For pie-lovers who can’t decide which toppings make their mouths water most, the pizza buffet is a great option. Unlike most buffets, Zax’s pizza makers prepare their pies in the open and take requests. If you have a hankering for ham and pineapple, tell them that’s what you want and before you’re ready to get up for seconds, a fresh piping hot ham and pineapple pizza is coming out of the oven. So why should a pizza fan limit himself to just one kind of pizza when he can have a slice of several kinds? And for people with smaller appetites, Zax offers pizza by the individual slice too.

Another enjoyable option from the menu is the Take ‘N Bake. As long as you can choose from over ten types of pizza along with a Create Your Own section, you can enjoy Zax’s great pies in the comfort of home.

But considering the welcoming, family-style atmosphere of the restaurant, the cheerful staff and the wraparound terrace, Zax provides an inviting reason to dine out.

Owners Bynum, Bortles and Frank Day, all college buddies from Boulder, Colorado, envisioned a restaurant that offered a full range of services, yet focused on a family-friendly environment. Family men themselves, they saw an opportunity to return to the Moab area by creating a great pizza joint for the community.

Zax welcomes diners from all over the country and world, but doesn’t forget to focus on the local clientele, which is why they remain open all year round. They offer special promos, such as kids eat free every Wednesday during the winter, $10 steak and fish on Monday nights, $2 pints of Moab brews and give away tokens for free dishes. Zax’s involvement in the community extends to local sports; they’re avid supporters of Grand County High’s Red Devils.

General manager, Chris Shauinger, a recent transplant to Moab, succinctly sums up the restaurant’s attitude in saying, “We treat guests with respect and try to get to know them.” He galvanizes his large staff by making sure they are happy because he believes that if they are happy, then the good atmosphere rubs off on the customers and makes for an enjoyable dining experience. His philosophy must hold water since there is low turnover in the staff and high repeat business with the customers. Chris says that “the Moab pride is kind of seeping into us.”

Zax is located on the corner of 100 South and Main and can be reached at (435) 259-6555 or Prices average from $6 to $9, and the full pizza, soup and salad bar is available for $8.88.

Recipe of the Month

Recipe for Spinach Artichoke Dip
by Chef Gil Gonzo - ZAX Restaurant

Yields 6 portions

1 bag of fresh baby leaf spinach
2 pounds of Philly cream cheese
2 small cans of artichokes, chopped
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1 red onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp. fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. kosher salt or sea salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Parmano cheese, shredded

Sautee the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until opaque. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Be sure not to have big lumps of cream cheese. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve with Boboli Rounds or bread sticks and accompany with carrot and celery sticks.



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